So just, in conclusion, 10 to 30 year plus, big pictures, key issues, integrate through that continuum to tactical and project planning.
You need to develop a strategic vision, that’s the hard bit because of politicians and the public can’t do it. That’s a bit hard, but it’s around looking those trends and say hey this is what it looks like and then people play with it from there.
You have to deal with uncertainty through – because it’s all forward-looking and nothing is certain but it certainly assists and directs ongoing decision-making for communities and countries.
It is a part of the toolset that you bring to your professional work. It is good to know it’s there. That’s it.
Theuns: What is the value of strategic planning…
I think certainly if we came back to the likes of these guys in Niue because it’s just ten years for this, and New Zealand, even the likes of Dunedin going out to 2060, lots of things are going to change in the next 50 years.
You think that 50 years ago, the mid-1960s, the world was a completely different place. We were putting a man on the moon, and yeah it is that far back. With computers in them that had less grunt than on your cell phone, in terms of computing there.
So the thing is, what it allows you to do I think primarily even though you’ve got all the uncertainty and all the changes are, it allows you to have a discussion around what you can afford, or want to afford and what is achievable.
And start having a discussion about what’s important and what’s not, in terms of trade-offs, which if you don’t have this information, it’s almost impossible to have that discussion.
Now at the town where I live, we had a big sewer renewal coming up. A town of 30,000 people, $65-million sewer replacement. And a decade and a half ago, we had, we did all these analyses, nearly two decades ago.
And we put that up to the people of the town and said, look this is the best way forward, and this is it but we need to double the rate. And at that time, the sewer rate is $350 a property, and it needs to double to $700.
And the town looked at the information and said yes we agree, double our rate. End of discussion. And it’s just finished being built a couple of years ago.
So, it was a 15-year program to build out. If you go to somebody and say oh, I think we need to double your rates and we’ll do good stuff, you will get the response that you deserve, which is, no you want to take a dollar a day extra of us, you need to have a very good reason.
When you can present good reasons to communities, they often surprise by just going, oh yeah – and way you go.
So, it’s around enabling those community discussions about what they want to achieve and afford as well. But the problem here in Auckland is that discussion hasn’t really been held and hence the problems of infrastructure.
Theuns: Responses can be surprising…
Like Dunedin’s case, I mean they actually had a reasonable handle on this. In the cold hard light of day, they shouldn’t have built that rugby stadium, for me. They couldn’t afford it.
And it’s causing them problems from every other thing, but they had a group of people that were hell-bent on building the rugby stadium, which they have.
But if they actually had all this information on the table, about this and all the other assets they’ve got, they might have gone, you know, a rugby stadium would be nice, but it’s nice to have and not a must-have. No, water supply is a must-have.
If you got to fix your water supply up, you got to do it. You don’t get a choice.
You can’t – we live for three days without water and then we die. So the reality is we have got to have water supplies.
We don’t have to have rugby stadiums. I know that is blasphemy in some parts of New Zealand, but there you go.
So it helps with those trade-off decisions with the communities about what’s important.
It also helps you to look at where your choking points are and say, hey we need to plan about that.
We’ve got 30 years to plan that but we need to be real… that’s a big lump of money.
It’s a big lump of money in here, let’s get smart about how we spend that and do better asset management planning for that, better project management.